LeBron James has been on quite a roll in terms of expressing himself so it seems only appropriate that on his 34th birthday, he offered another bold statement.
Appearing on Episode 7 of the eight-part ESPN+ series, "More Than an Athlete," James said leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in the 2015-16 season allowed him to think of himself as the best player in the game.
"That one right there made me the greatest player of all time," James said.
James and his Cavaliers teammates made history that season by becoming the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to win a championship, doing so against a Golden State team that had also made history by winning a league-record 73 games in the regular season.
Cleveland won two of those games on the road at Oracle Arena, capped by a Game 7 triumph in which James put up a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and was named unanimous Finals Most Valuable Player.
"That's what I felt," he told friends and associates Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Rich Paul during the episode Sunday night. "I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought. ... The first wave of emotion was when everyone saw me crying, like, that was all for 52 years of everything in sports that's gone on in Cleveland. And then after I stopped, I was like -- that one right there made you the greatest player of all time.
"Everybody was just talking -- how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all time, like it was the greatest team ever assembled," he said. "And for us to come back, you know, the way we came back in that fashion, I was like, 'You did, you did something special.' That's probably one of the only times in my career I felt like, oh, s---, like you did something special. I haven't had, really had time, to really, like, sit back and think, but that ... that was a moment."
James played two more seasons with the Cavaliers, reaching the Finals in both campaigns, giving him four consecutive trips to the championship series in Cleveland eight straight overall, having done so the previous four seasons with the Miami Heat, with whom he won NBA titles in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
James signed a three-year, $154 million deal, with a player option for a fourth year, with the Los Angeles Lakers in July.